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Table of Contents   
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1107-1108
Universal health coverage: Necessity, monitoring, and the vision ahead


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Universal health coverage: Necessity, monitoring, and the vision ahead. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1107-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Universal health coverage: Necessity, monitoring, and the vision ahead. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 10];10:1107-8. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1107/217533


Dear Editor,

The world is about to complete its first anniversary of the adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to have a safe and healthy world by the year 2030.[1] It will not be wrong to say that some of the health-related targets are actually the unaccomplished, which were incorporated as a part of the Millennium Development Goals, whereas the rest are the newly adopted targets in response to the changing disease patterns.[1] Nevertheless, the target to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) is one of the most important targets among all, as it will eventually benefit all others targets.[1],[2]

In simple words, UHC means that all individuals can avail desired health care services without being exposed to any monetary hardship while paying for the same.[3] Despite the fact that UHC is not a novel area, policy makers from different nations have acknowledged that any progress made toward the accomplishment of UHC will indirectly assist in reaching different other SDGs.[1],[2] It is important to realize that two dimensions have to be looked upon in UHC, namely the delivery of health services in such a way that it improves the health standards of the beneficiaries (currently, more than 400 million people are still devoid of one or more essential health care services), and ensure that individuals do not suffer from financial catastrophe owing to the out-of-pocket expenses while utilizing health services.[2],[3]

Furthermore, it is vital to understand that not even rich people can always afford health care and even they become vulnerable while managing a serious or a chronic ailment, and thus it is crucial to aim for UHC.[3] Even though, nations have started to move ahead, it is extremely important to gauze the progress, so that corrective steps can be taken to respond to any shortcomings.[1],[3] In fact, two indicators have been identified for the same, namely to assess the level of coverage in a population by tracking access to essential health services, and to assess the extent to which individuals are vulnerable to financial hardship while paying for these services.[1],[3]

Moreover, it is a fact that UHC just cannot be accomplished by all nations instantaneously, but it requires all nations to take steps to not only fast-track the pace of movement, but even sustain the gains which have already been accomplished.[2],[3] The need of the hour is to ascertain the public health priorities depending on the number of people exposed to the disease or condition and then take measures to provide accessible and affordable services in a people-centric manner through an integrated health system.[1],[2],[3]

In other words, it is important to realize that a single approach will not meet the needs of all people in all settings, but the outcome can be improved only through specific and need-based interventions.[1],[2],[3]

In addition, there is an indispensable requirement to increase the global health workforce (by enrolling, educating, training, improving the work conditions, and retaining them through offering financial remunerations and other suitable benefits), strengthen the health care delivery system, and improve upon the financial risk protection mechanism through merging of funds (such as tax, revenues, insurance money, and others) to eventually ensure that the so-called risk of financial catastrophe is equally distributed among the rich and the poor.[1],[2],[3],[4] Also, there is a definitive scope to take steps to minimize the ever-increasing cost of medications, ensure improvement in the quality of diagnostics, involve different sectors, and expand research and development activities in the field of health care.[2],[4]

To conclude, accomplishment of UHC is a challenge for all nations, like other set goals and targets. In fact, multiple shortcomings are still prevailing in different settings, and if we have to achieve health-related goals within the set time frame, it is crucial to take bold steps to attain universal health coverage.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization.Universal Health Coverage: Unique Challenges Bold Solutions. 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/commentaries/2016/universal-health-coverage-challenges-solutions/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Aug 17].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Emphasizing the need to achieve universal health coverage worldwide. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:292-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
3.
World Health Organization.Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Fact Sheet N 395 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs395/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Aug 17].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
McPake B, Hanson K. Managing the public-private mix to achieve universal health coverage. Lancet 2016;388:622-30.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.217533

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